Shoulder Stability Exercises to Bulletproof Your Weightlifting

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Shoulder Stability Exercises to Bulletproof Your Weightlifting

If you’re weightlifting, whether it’s solely practicing the Olympic lifts or incorporating them in your WOD, you’re using your shoulders a LOT. Any time weight goes over your head (or even when you grab a dumbbell), your shoulders are working. As a ball-and-socket joint, they’re the most mobile joint in your body—and, in turn, the most vulnerable. And you’re pushing their mobility AND stability to the max with heavy loads and explosive movements.

But, are you checking in with them? To keep your shoulders healthy and happy, you need to give them some TLC. If you’re throwing weight over your head and catching it with those little guys (read: Olympic weightlifting), you need to maintain their health and practice stability.

If we tell you it'll bring you a lot closer to that next PR, does that help?? Because it will. Soooo many lifts are missed because of weak shoulder stability.

Shoulder stability problems can manifest in lots of ways. Wrist pain, hand pain, elbow pain, shoulder pain: they’re often connected. To mitigate a lot of these annoyances, you can implement some shoulder stability work in your warmup and simultaneously prevent injury while also strengthening your stability in your lifts. It’s a win-win—you just have to actually do it.

So, we all agree shoulder stability is an important element of your warmup. That’s pretty cut and dry. But it is hard (near impossible) to commit to something without a plan or guidance. So, we’ve compiled a list of several shoulder stability movements you can use in your own warmup. Take note on 2-3 you want to try and DO THEM! Today! Or at your next WOD.


Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Press

Standing, hold your kettlebell by the handle in your front rack position and press it overhead, rotating the hand so your palm faces forward at the top. Return to start. This is a single-arm movement. Complete all your reps on one arm before switching.

Single Arm Plank

Assume the plank position, on your hands with your feet wide apart. Take one hand off the ground. You can rest it on the opposite shoulder for balance. Hold the plank for 15-30 seconds with each hand.

Kettlebell Arm Bar

Lay on your back with your kettlebell in one hand, elbow on the ground, with the foot on that side flat on the ground. Your other arm will be outstretched to the side, palm facing down, with that leg straight. Press your kettlebell up and roll to your opposite side so you’re perpendicular to the floor. Roll back down to your starting position and repeat.

Farmer’s Carry (in various positions)

For your farmer’s carry, you’ll be carrying kettlebells in either 1 or both hands for a challenging distance or timed goal. Practice your farmer’s carry in the front racked position, a suitcase carry (one kettlebell down by your side), single or both arms overhead, and the traditional carry in both hands by your sides.

Pull-up Hold

Come to the top of your pull-up and hold it for as long as you can.

Kettlebell Half Kneeling Windmill

In a kneeling position, hold the kettlebell overhead, palm forward, in the hand on the same side as your forward knee. Carefully bring your other hand toward the floor, hinging from the waist, and keep the kettlebell directly above your shoulder. Still keeping the kettlebell directly above your shoulder, hinge back up to the starting position.


There you have it. A nice list of exercises to start implementing NOW. Don’t wait until something hurts. Be proactive so you can stay active. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us at and we’ll be happy to help. Happy lifting Team CK!

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